Today's Headlines

US News

Antiwar Protests Fail to Sway Bush
In his first public comments about anti-war demonstrations by millions of people in the US and overseas, President Bush stated that his job was to "protect" the American people, and that that job may mean bucking public opinion. Bush said, "Size of protest - it's like deciding, well, I'm going to base policy based upon a focus group."

Influential Figures Defend Owner of E2 Nightclub
Looking to affix someone with responsibility in the deaths of 21 people in a Chicago, Illinois nightclub, the city has begun to focus on Dwain Kyles, the son of one of Chicago's most influential African-American families and owner of the club. A veritable who's-who of black Chicago are speaking in public defending Kyles, including Jesse Jackson, George Clements, and U.S. representative Danny Davis.

Carol Moseley-Braun To Run For President
Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley-Braun is announcing the creation of a presidential exploratory committee today for the Democratic nomination for president. Moseley-Braun is a long-time Democrat from Illinois and a former ambassador to New Zealand, and she plans on running as a "peace dove and a deficit hawk."

International News

First 9/11 Trial Near Verdict in Germany
Mounir el Motassadeq is charged with membership in a terrorist organization and more than three thousand counts of accessory to murder for providing logistical support to the Hamburg Al Qaeda cel that included Mohamed Atta, the pilot of one of the two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. He faces up to fifteen years in prison, as a five-judge panel is set to deliver a verdict on Wednesday.

11 Palestinian Troops Dead in Latest Gun Battle
Last night, more than thirty Israeli tanks, backed up by helicopters and small units of well-armed troops, swept into the militant northern and eastern neighborhoods of Gaza City, resulting in several skirmishes with Palestinian troops in the region. This was the second Israeli raid on Gaza City since the Islamic militant group Hamas blew up an Israeli tank on Saturday.

Riots Over South Korean Subway Fire
Grieving relatives of victims of the subway fire yesterday in South Korea clashed with police in a skirmish this morning as a result of growing anger over apparent major lapses in safety. At least 125 people died in the arson attack yesterday, in which two trains in the city of Daegu, South Korea aught fire after a flammable liquid was set on fire. Kim Dae-hwan, a local man with a history of mental illness, has confessed to starting the fire.


Intel To Spend $2 Billion To Upgrade Plant in Arizona
Intel plans to spend $2 billion to upgrade its manufacturing plant in Chandler, Arizona, to bring the plant to the cutting edge of wafer manufacturing. According to Intel, the conversion of the plant will begin in 2004 and end in 2005 and will result in a doubling of manufacturing capacity while lowering costs.

Barrett Bullish on IT Recovery
Intel's CEO Craig Barrett is confident in an increase in IT spending in the coming year with one caveat - no war with Iraq. During his opening address yesterday at the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose, California, Barrett cited Microsoft's decision to stop supporting Windows 95 and Windows 98, the huge leaps in broadband availability, and the global move to use of digital media will cause an increase in spending.

Bargain Hunting on Wall Street Boosts Markets
Due to several factors, the bargain hunters were out on Wall Street, buying significant numbers of stocks and bringing the Dow Jones Industrial Average up to 8,041.15, an increase of 132.35 points. Belief that a war in Iraq is not imminent after all in conjunction with strong reports from many companies including Wal-Mart caused the buying spree, analysts said.

Science & Technology

Mungo Man Actually 22,000 Years Younger Than Previously Thought
A new set of tests on the remains of 'Mungo Man,' a skeleton found in southeastern Australia in 1974, show that he died only 40,000 years ago, much more recently than the previous claims of 62,000 years. This matches evidence of a tribe in the region from about 40,000 years ago, evidenced by artifacts and the presence of a female skeleton of that age, called 'Mungo Woman.' Details will be published by scientists from Melbourne University in the February 20, 2003 issue of Nature.

Cellular Phone Cameras Experience Technical Difficulties
Due to several problems, including the inability to work across networks, poorly-executed design, and lack of access to users without service, cell phone cameras have yet to reach a significant level of market penetration. Mobile industry leaders are meeting at the 3GSM conference in Cannes, France to try to solve these problems today.

XML Security Standard Ratified By OASIS
The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) announced on Tuesday that they had approved XACML (Extensible Access Control Markup Language) as a standard. XACML is a standard for expressing security policy in XML form. The next major hurdle for XACML is to get full W3C support for the emerging standard.


Duke University Botches Heart-Lung Transplant
17-year-old Jessica Santillan was in critical condition early this morning at Duke University Hospital after accidentally being given organs that did not match her type 0-positive blood. Hospital officials do not know how the mistake happened, but Dr. William Fulkerson, the chief executive officer at Duke University, says the hospital is investigating the mistake and will determine if any discipline is necessary.

Alzheimer's Disease May Be Treated By Fats, Not Affected By Antioxidants
A study at Columbia University reveals that antioxidants may not have the strong positive effect on Alzheimer's disease that was previously reported, and that some dietary fats help the condition, while others fail it. The summary of the results is that a heart-healthy diet may also help to treat Alzheimer's.


Lakers Defeat Rockets in Double Overtime
Kobe Bryant scored 52 points, in his sixth straight game with more than 40 points, as the Shaq-less Lakers defeated the Rockets 106-99 in two overtimes. O'Neal is out with toe and knee injuries. Yao Ming led the Rockets with 24 points and 14 rebounds.

Juventus Must Play At Manchester United
The UEFA has decided that the flu-struck Juventus team must play Wednesday's Champions League match against rival Manchester United. Juventus requested a postponement after defender Lilian Thuram came down with a virus and was unable to play, making him the sixth player on the team to be unable to play. Several other Juventus players are also running high temperatures.


Joe Millionaire Hands Rupert Murdoch Ratings Victory
More than 40 million viewers tuned into the conclusion of Fox's Joe Millionaire on Monday evening, giving Rupert Murdoch's fledgling network its greatest ever ratings for a non-sports program. This caps a string of successful programs that have put Fox on top of the ratings in America.

Bono Named As Possible Nobel Peace Prize Recipient
Bono, frontman of the pop group U2, has been placed on the short list of potential winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. This list includes 150 organizations and individuals who have contributed greatly to peace causes in the past year, including French president Jacques Chirac and former Illinois governor George Ryan.

And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

As some of you may know, I am a Christian. I don't particularly like organized religion in terms of participating in services and other organizations, particularly those organizations that attempt to bridge the gap between religion and politics.

So, why am I telling you this? Well, I have an Islamic friend who, from November 6, 2002 to December 5, 2002, fasted due to the practices for the holy month of Ramadan. At the time, I didn't really understand what the purpose of it was, so I asked him about it. He sat down with me one evening and explained the belief structure behind it, which I'm summarizing here (perhaps overly so, but read the writeup on Ramadan for more details):

1. The Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation from the God on the 24th day of Ramadan 570 C.E.
2. The Enjeel (Gospel) was reveled to Prophet Isah (Jesus) on the First day of Ramadan.
3. The Torah was reveled to Prophet Musa (Moses) on the 13th day of Ramadan.

The part of this that really shocked me was the second one; part of the motivation for celebrating Ramadan is a celebration of the day that the Gospel was revealed to Jesus, which is an essential and pivotal point in my own religious beliefs. Prior to this, I had basically viewed Islam as being vastly different from my own beliefs, but it's not. After that, I began to read the Qur'an for a second time, trying to understand the meaning of what is being said.

But I kept coming back to the practices that my friend followed during the month. Here's what he did:

1. He did not consume any drink or food during daylight hours. Instead, he began the day with a light meal before dawn, and then ate a light meal at dusk, sometimes drinking some broth before bed as well. He broke the fast in the evening with three dates and a glass of water.
2. He attended special prayers (called the Taraweeh) that occurred late in the evening every night, in addition to his normal praying practices.
3. He increased his time spent each day studying the Qur'an.
4. He also volunteered extra time to feed the disadvantaged, working in a soup kitchen on the weekends.

My friend does not read this site, so he may never know the amount of time I've spent really considering this. In fact, observing his actions during Ramadan made me realize that the cultural and spiritual divide between us isn't that great after all. He reads and believes in the words of a holy book, which contains messages on how to live a better life. He believes that Jesus, if not the son of God, was at least an extremely important prophet. And he strives to improve his life daily.

Inspired by this, I have decided to take up a discipline during Lent that mirrors his practices during Ramadan. First, before I diatribe on this, let me explain what I plan to do:

1. I will not consume any drink or food during daylight hours. Instead, I will begin each day with a light meal before dawn, and then eat a light meal at dusk and drink broth before bed. I will break the fast in the evening with three dates and a glass of water.
2. I will double the length of my evening and morning meditations. I meditate for 20 minutes each day, both in the morning and in the evening, on my life and the world around me.
3. I will double the time spent each day studying the Bible (from fifteen minutes to thirty) and add an additional 15 minutes of daily study of the Qur'an.
4. I will volunteer for some social work each weekend.

What do I want to get out of this? First of all, the practice will help me to understand my own religion better. I can understand, at least in part, the suffering that Jesus went through in the last part of his life. This practice will also help me get into better touch with my spiritual side (through meditation), my religious studies (through more reading), and my social responsibilities. Beyond this, I can begin to understand, at least in part, some of the practices of my Islamic friends in the world.

Our nation is about to head down a path that will likely lead to a holy war of a sort between Muslims and Christians. I feel that all war and all hatred are signs of evil, and the best thing I can do to fight against this is to try to understand the people on both sides better, and through my actions perhaps help others to consider the same. I guess part of this practice is my own protest against the seemingly inevitable war, as I refuse to take up arms but I want to make others carefully reconsider what we are doing in the Middle East.